Brazilian Blowout and related hair smoothing products are a hot consumer and occupational health topic because of formaldehyde exposures from these products. The first reports about formaldehyde in hair smoothing products surfaced when Oregon OSHA investi

Brazilian Blowout and related hair smoothing products are a hot consumer and occupational health topic because of formaldehyde exposures from these products. The first reports about formaldehyde in hair smoothing products surfaced when Oregon OSHA investigated a complaint from a hair stylist who had nosebleeds, eye irritation, and trouble breathing while using a Brazilian Blowout product labeled "formaldehyde-free." After testing the product, Oregon OSHA found that the product contained formaldehyde. Many other keratin-based hair smoothing products have been found to contain formaldehyde (or related chemicals that release formaldehyde when used in the hair smoothing process). Salon workers can be exposed to formaldehyde during the entire hair straightening process, especially when heat is applied (e.g. blow-drying, flat ironing). Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong-smelling gas that can be hazardous if inhaled, or if it contacts the eyes or skin. People can also be exposed if they touch their faces, eat food, or drink after using a product containing formaldehyde without first washing their hands. It can irritate the eyes and nose, and cause coughing and wheezing. Formaldehyde is a "sensitizer," which means that it can cause allergic reactions of the skin, eyes, and lungs such as asthma-like breathing problems and skin rashes and itching. It is also a cancer hazard. A limited number of studies have been conducted about the developmental and reproductive toxicity of formaldehyde; while these studies have not shown increased risks, many of the study methods are weak, thus the results are considered inconclusive.

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